Being a business leader nowadays takes guts. But have you ever stopped to think about how your actions are helping or possibly hindering those around you? Do you scare people into action? Throw caution to the wind? Is laissez-faire more your mantra?
If flexibility is the path to great leadership, self-awareness is the first step.
How to Become a More Effective Leader?
Take this short quiz to help identify your leadership style.
1. An employee asks you to help clarify a new process you discussed in a recent staff meeting. You respond by:
A. Rolling your eyes and sighing loudly. After all, your time is at a premium and the team should get it by now.
B. Telling Sue to tell Jim to tell Bill to set up a meeting to discuss.
C. Spending the next two hours recapping the entire process It’s important this process is understood by all.
D. Provide a quick, general answer. Your team should be resourceful enough to figure out the details without you.
E. Referring them to online materials that outline the process steps in detail.
2. You discover a flaw in a proposal that was just sent out to an important prospect. You respond by:
A. Unleashing a stream of expletives loud enough for the whole floor to hear.
B. Standing over the offender while they uncover the error line by line.
C. Taking responsibility for the mistake.
D. Tell the team to send a new proposal immediately – without clarifying the problem.
E. Calmly pointing out the mistake and assigning next steps.
3. You spend most of the day with your door closed. This most likely means:
A. Someone is getting yelled at.
B. You are scrutinizing everyone’s work for accuracy.
C. You are consoling your assistant after her latest breakup.
D. You are busy. End of story.
E. You are finalizing a plan to on-board new employees.
4. A project from a brand new account gets assigned to your team. You respond by:
A. Dumping it on the first desk you see with the mandate, “Get it done.”
B. Assigning the work and asking everyone for hourly status reports.
C. Working on it yourself – you don’t want to overwhelm them with yet another request.
D. Delegating the work and then sitting back until they come to you with questions.
E. Delegating the work appropriately and providing points-of-contact.
5. A junior employee asks for greater responsibility. You respond by:
A. Offering up more “busy work” to keep them distracted.
B. Giving them more responsibility, but continuing to manage them to the same degree.
C. Asking what type of work makes them “feel comfortable.”
D. Giving the green light for them to seek out more opportunities.
E. Working out a plan to transition them into a more challenging role.
What's Your Style?
Tally your answers and read on for insight on your style – and how you can achieve better balance.
- Mostly As: Bully
You are a powerhouse when it comes to getting things done, but what did it take to get there? Blindly making demands of your team often leads to resentment in the long run, which is a morale killer. Communication is key.
Remedy: Keep an open dialogue so both you and your employees feel respected. Practice patience, and take the time to listen.
- Mostly Bs: Micromanager
You find it difficult to delegate and tend to hover every step of the way to ensure a project “gets done right.” This approach can actually prevent progress. Remember: the most productive partnerships are based on mutual respect.
Remedy: Shift your focus from doing to leading. Start by assigning smaller, more manageable tasks to your staff and only ask for updates at each major project stage. Learn to let go and trust your employees to do their best.
- Mostly Cs: Pushover
Opposite the bully is the pushover. The pushover tends to avoid conflict at all costs in order to be well-liked. They find it difficult to set boundaries and end up letting others call the shots.
Remedy:Set your expectations up front. Practice being more firm. Make sure your staff is clear on where you stand on company policies, and review individual job roles periodically.
- Mostly Ds: Hands-off
You trust your team to perform well. This is a great if your employees are experienced and highly motivated but more junior staff might not feel they have the support they need to be successful.
Remedy: Become more involved. Set clear direction. Check in with your employees to ensure they know what’s expected of them. Let them know you have an open door if they need guidance or have lingering questions.
- Mostly Es: Balanced
Congratulations! Your management style is right on target. Your employees feel respected and listened to. Things get done in a timely manner without you having to constantly oversee every task.
Remedy: In this case, we recommend just keep doing what you’re doing. Maintain your focus on the needs of your employees and the organization, and be ever open to new opportunities to grow your skills as a leader.
All Leadership Styles Have Their Place
Adaptability is key to effective leadership. Successful leaders can move among styles to respond to the needs of the moment. So be flexible, and don’t be afraid to challenge yourself to new standards of effectiveness and support for those you lead. By adopting a mindset of continuous improvement, you’ll likely be rewarded with a team that’s loyal and committed – and has the drive to achieve the business results you’re aiming for.
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